Non-stick pans have been around for some time now; and, like with all things, they have seen a fair share of innovation, evolution, and advancement. While old manufacturing habits and tactics have come to fade away in favor of more consumer-friendly operations, the resulting products have seen an improvement in both quality, and range of versatility. Understanding the science behind non-stick pans, and the different types of non-stick available, can help consumers make informed-decisions on the items they bring into their kitchen with which they’ll cook.
Before getting into the current options of non-stick pots and pans, a history of where these convenient cookware options began builds appreciation for where they are today.
Historically, non-stick pans have come under fire (pun intended) as being potentially harmful to the users health. While these theories were fundamentally valid based on the traditional ingredient that non-stick pans utilized in order to create their non-stick surface, it was only under certain circumstances that this ingredient became potentially harmful. The ingredient in question was teflon. Teflon contains a series of chemicals known as PFOAs. This is also known as teflon, as mentioned previously. If the surface of the non-stick pan was damaged, that was when the PFOAs included in manufacturing became potentially harmful.
This is why non-stick pans were also considered non-dishwasher safe for such a long time. However, over the course of time, and in part due to consumer-pressure, PFOAs were removed from the equation altogether.
Modern day non-stick pans are innovative and consumer-friendly in the sense that the wide majority are now PFOA free. This is a major relief to many consumers and even allows some non-stick pans to be dishwasher safe. In fact, the majority of the top-tier non-stick pans are going to be dishwasher safe.
This is also the case when it comes to non-stick steel pans. Non-stick stainless steel pans are a wildly popular option in today’s cookware marketplace. This is because they combine the power and convenience of non-stick, with the versatility and easy-care-attitude of stainless steel. Top of the line options are also going to offer the ability to both withstand high heat and distribute that heat evenly across the cooking surface. Achieving even heat distribution for the cooking process typically requires a layering process in the manufacturing. At least one of the layers needs to be composed of a stronger conductor than the stainless steel or the non-stick surface. The two most popular metals used to create this layer are aluminum and copper. While both have their pros and cons, they are each effective in conducting, retaining, and distributing heat across the cooking surface.
This makes for an elegant and easy cooking experience for anyone, whether you’re a first-time chef learning the basics, or a kitchen-vet looking for their next staple piece of cookware.
Ceramic non-stick pans are also becoming a popular choice among young chefs and long-time-cooks alike. This is not only because of the cooking features and capabilities that they offer, but also due to their sleek and unique designs that bring a pop of personality into the cooking process.
Ceramic non-stick coatings are called Thermolon and are made from a sand-derivative. This is what gives the pan its unique coloring. These pans are made without any toxic chemicals involved in the entire manufacturing process, guaranteeing one of the freshest and cleanest cooks you can find.
Finally, some of the biggest and boldest innovations in the non-stick and cookware industry result from combining some of the best features from each of the different types of cookware materials. For example, non-stick pots and pans that are designed and manufactured with both stainless steel and non-stick surfaces. Taking this a step further, there are brands creating stainless steel-non-stick pots and pans that are also induction-compatible.
In order to create such a uniquely versatile piece of cookware, the design requires a layer of magnetic aluminum which also acts as the conductor and heating element. This layer of aluminum is sandwiched between layers of stainless steel which have designed spots of non-stick-surface. This creates an elegant cooking experience that is versatile, modern, and convenient.
Not only are these pots and pans easy and elegant to cook with, but they’re dishwasher safe, making them an excellent choice for the consumer who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time on clean-up.
Finding the right cookware set for your personal kitchen and cooking needs can take a bit of hacking through the weeds. Knowing your choices when it comes to non-stick cookware, and how to avoid non-stick products manufactured with PFOAs will guide you to a cooking experience tailored just for you.